Bias finished seams are a couture mainstay. While not necessarily the most low bulk finish, there is nothing more elegant than an unlined garment underlined in silk organza with bias finished seams.
I am puzzled by the term “Hong Kong finish” for this technique, since I learned it while studying haute couture with Armande Gogel at the Ecole des Cadres Couture in Paris.
A version of this technique is to use the bias to finish the edge of the garment. Recently I found myself pondering what do do with an uncooperative metallic mesh fabric. It was like sewing on a screen door. Not your ordinary mesh or tulle, this fabric is stiff, with giant holes. Everything shows, no matter what you do. Using self fabric was not the solution. And nothing seemed to match the color. I was getting very depressed and frustrated trying to find a finish worthy of the fabric and style when I finally found some iridescent silk chiffon that worked.
For this particular application, I cut bias strips 1 3/4″ wide. Since the nature of silk chiffon is to slide all over the place, I used a paper underlay and overlay to keep the fabric from going off grain while cutting. I stitched the folded bias to the edge of the neckline on the right side, with all edges together, using a 1/8″ seam. After pressing the folded bias away from the body towards the edge, I turned the folded edge of the bias to the inside, with a few pins to ‘help’.
In the real world of haute couture this would be hand sewn with tiny stitches, but since I would like the garment to retail for something more affordable I ran a ‘stitch in the ditch’ along the top edge, catching the fold underneath. Even with years of experience and having the feel of it in my fingertips, I do still miss some spots and have to go back and re-do small sections. Oh well.
Why, you may ask, not use a binder? I am too old school to even think of using this solution. I would be terrified of stretching out the neckline in the fabric. Donald Rumsfeld’s term “running around with [my] hair on fire” comes to mind. Here is a photo of the first one, a prototype, for my small holiday production lot.